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Wool Gang Game Review

It's got a cool box

Justin reviews the new family card game Wool Gang from Gigamic!

Sheep, dog, and sheepdog games have had a bumpy ride in the Bell household.

Wilson & Shep was a cute hidden movement game that my kids never latched onto. Good Dog, Bad Zombie was certainly more good than bad. Sheepy Time was OK. Adult games featuring sheep, like Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small or Glen More II: Chronicles, have always landed well, particularly any game that features “sheeple” wooden meeples as a spendable resource.

The newest entry in the sheep/dog/sheepdog category? Wool Gang (2023, Gigamic) is a family-weight card game that landed somewhere in the middle. Wool Gang has a cool box, quick rounds, and great card art by Pauline Berdal. In other words, it’s a solid production.

As a game? Wool Gang (designed by Jérôme Bodin) never crossed the threshold from mildly interesting to above average.

Spin the (Points) Wheel

Wool Gang is a set collection card game for 2-5 players. Once a player crosses 20 points (tracked using a points wheel that displays each player’s current score), that round becomes the final round of the game, and the player with the most points wins.

Each round of Wool Gang plays the same. The entire deck of action cards and sheep cards is shuffled then dealt, six cards to each player. Only five of those six cards will be played. The person who began the round with the most points plays one of their hand cards to the table.

If it is a wild card or a sheep card (which come in four different suit colors and seven numbers, running from 1-7), the card is added to the table either as a single card comprising its own group, or added to an existing group. If the card is an orange action card, the card is discarded to use its effect, usually to move cards around on the table or to break up groups of existing cards.

When each player has played five of their six cards, the scoring phase begins. Each player plays one or two of their separate hand of sheepdog cards simultaneously to collect sheep, with each collected sheep scoring one point per sheep card regardless of the sheep card’s value. Sheepdog cards come with a condition—for example, collect one group of sheep as long as all of the sheep have the same color, or even numbers, or consecutive numbers, etc.—and an initiative number. In ascending initiative order, each sheepdog collects a group of cards from the table to score.

That might mean your sheepdog doesn’t score, especially if another player snakes your dream sheep card group before you get to take a turn.

Everything’s Fine

Wool Gang was a good time for my daughter, who kept winning regardless of who was sitting with her at the table. But for the other victims of her excellent play, Wool Gang showed a few cracks.

There wasn’t much reason to bluff my way through each round. Generally, I played cards to groups to ensure that I could score my sheepdog scoring condition. When players have the chance to bluff their way through the scoring phase—using empty doghouse cards as a fake if they didn’t want to reveal that they were not playing a scoring card that round—I found that bluffing was quite rare. To get to 20 points, you only have so much time in such a short game, so taking a round off can be pretty dangerous.

Wool Gang also features a card so broken that even my daughter, who used it to win our first two-player game, called out how “OP” (overpowered) it was. Bonusbones is the name of this OP sheepdog card, and it has a scoring condition so comical I had to laugh when I read it: score any single group of cards AND play your normally-unused sixth card during the scoring round, essentially guaranteeing you can get one extra card into a big group. Also, the initiative for that card is the lowest in the game, guaranteeing that it has the best scoring condition and that it always plays first.

Uh, no. I considered ripping that card in half as soon as I read its requirements.

Bonusbones is only one card, but it is swingy as all get out. And even if other players sense that Bonusbones is about to make an appearance, a lack of action cards means that no one can counter someone stacking cards into a large group.

Wool Gang is consistently OK. Games with two or three players take about 15 minutes, it is easy to teach, and it is really tidy thanks to a slick package that holds the cards and the score trackers. Assuming the price point lands in the $10-$15 range, Wool Gang is a decent value proposition. It’s just not a game I expect to revisit.

  • Fair - Will play if suggested.

Wool Gang details

Disclosure: Meeple Mountain received a free copy of this product in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. This review is not intended to be an endorsement.

About the author

Justin Bell

Love my family, love games, love food, love naps. If you're in Chicago, let's meet up and roll some dice!

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